It was a bit of a beast getting into Cambodia. We entered through a seldom used border crossing between Laos and Cambodia, the only transportation available was through a company with heavily inflated prices. It was somewhat frustrating to not be able to hire local transportation on our own, but mostly I was just happy to have made it to Cambodia. By the time we made it to our first destination, near-border town Stung Treng, we had assembled a group of fellow travelers to hire a van to get to our final destination, thus avoiding having to take a bus the next morning. (One of the crew was an older Belgian man bearing a resemblance to a certain Jim Cramer with a similar eccentric personality.) It was great to be able to make it all the way from Laos to our first planned destination in Cambodia all in one day.
After a few hours on a very dusty road, we arrived in Ban Lung. Since no one in the van had been here before except for the Belgian (an ex-NGO worker who’d lived in Cambodia), we all accepted his lodging recommendation and ended up staying at the same guesthouse. It was surprisingly large and consisted of several building spread out in a walled complex. I looked at a few different rooms in different parts of the hotel complex. Although none of them seemed too impressive, the place was decent and we decided to stay. Just as we thought we thought we were getting one type of room, the hotel lady sent us to look at yet another room on the bottom floor of another building. It was huge—more like a small apartment than a hotel room with an entry room, kitchen area, bathroom, and super large bedroom. At the same price as the smaller, obviously inferior rooms ($5), we decided to definitely take this one.
We affectionately came to call our room “the hunting lodge.” As you can see from the photo, the walls and ceiling were completely covered in darkly stained wood panels. Wooden deer heads adorned the walls, along with a few knives—hunting implements perhaps? We thought the décor was a little bit strange, but the antlers were very useful as a place to hang our wet clothes.